Walking Tall

April 2nd, 2004

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Walking Tall

Still of Dwayne Johnson in Walking TallStill of Michael Bowen and Dwayne Johnson in Walking TallStill of John Beasley, Dwayne Johnson and Barbara Tarbuck in Walking TallStill of Dwayne Johnson and Neal McDonough in Walking TallStill of Dwayne Johnson in Walking TallStill of Johnny Knoxville and Dwayne Johnson in Walking Tall

A former U.S. soldier returns to his hometown to find it overrun by crime and corruption, which prompts him to clean house.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 6.0/10 (27,349 voted)

Critic's Score: 44/100

Director: Kevin Bray

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Scott, Johnny Knoxville

After eight years serving the U.S. Army Special Forces, Sergeant Chris Vaughn returns to his hometown seeking for a job in the local mill. He is informed by Sheriff Stan Watkins that the mill was closed six months ago and now the Wild Cherry Casino, owned by his former high school friend Jay Hamilton, is the major source of jobs and income to the town. Chris goes home, and meets his best-friend Ray Templeton, who organized a football game with their friends. After the game, Jay invites Chris and his friends to spend the night in his casino on him, but when Chris finds that the casino stick-man is cheating with the dices, he fights against the security men and is almost killed by them. When his nephew Pete has an OD with amphetamines sold by the security men of the casino, Chris realizes that the town is dominated by the mobsters and the corrupt sheriff and with a huge piece of wood, he breaks the casino and the criminals...

Writers: Mort Briskin, David Klass

Michael Bowen - Sheriff Stan Watkins
Johnny Knoxville - Ray Templeton
Dwayne Johnson - Chris Vaughn (as The Rock)
Neal McDonough - Jay Hamilton
Ashley Scott - Deni
John Beasley - Chris Vaughn Sr.
Barbara Tarbuck - Connie Vaughn
Kristen Wilson - Michelle Vaughn
Khleo Thomas - Pete Vaughn
Kevin Durand - Booth
Andrew Tarbet - Jimmy
Patrick Gallagher - Keith
John Stewart - Rusty
Eric Breker - Deputy Ralston
Ryan Robbins - Travis

Taglines: One man will stand up for what's right.


Official Website: MGM |

Release Date: 2 April 2004

Filming Locations: Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

Box Office Details

Budget: $56,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $15,501,114 (USA) (4 April 2004) (2836 Screens)

Gross: $45,860,039 (USA) (30 May 2004)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

DVD includes deleted scenes and an alternate ending.

Continuity: As Chris and Jay are fighting, Jay has an ax that he is attempting to hit Chris with. Chris tackles Jay and they tumble down a hill. As they are tumbling, the ax disappears for one sequence. When they stop rolling, the ax reappears in Jay's hand.

Chris Vaughn: Ray-Ray!
Ray Templeton: Hello, puddin!

User Review

The time has come to admit that the Rock is just plain cool (***)

Rating: 7/10

I hate wrestling, but when I saw "The Rundown" last year I had to admit, The Rock is one cool guy, and a perfect action star. He's big and tough, but most importantly he's charismatic and has a sense of humor and a certain softness that actually makes him seem somewhat vulnerable. This is what sets him apart from someone like Vin Diesel, who was all set to be the next big action star but never was because he has no personality or sense of humor.

"Walking Tall" is a remake of a 1973 based-on-fact film about a man who fights back against corruption in his town by becoming sheriff and waging war on the bad guys. I haven't seen the original, but I'm willing to bet it's closer to the truth than the 2004 "Walking Tall", which is packed with more machine guns, axes, exploding trucks, and gunfighting strippers than anything that's "based on fact" could possibly be.

Here, Vaughn returns home after years of being away to find his hometown in shambles and dependent on a corrupt casino run by drug-dealing, knife-wielding thugs. After he receives a brutal beating and his nephew (Khleo Thomas, from "Holes") nearly overdoses on crystal meth bought there, the war is on. My inner 12 year-old says "Woohoo!".

Yes, this film is ridiculously over the top. It's also completely predictable. But it's FUN. A lot of fun, in fact. It's extremely fast paced, well-acted, the action scenes are excellent, and at just under 80 minutes, it's exceptionally lean too. Not one unnecessary or drawn-out scene.

"Walking Tall" doesn't aim to be anything except old-fashioned popcorn entertainment, and it succeeds, yet it has been made with surprising artistry as well. The cinematography is very good, and there are some interesting things done with sound and unexpected fade-outs. Also, Vaughn is an interestingly complex hero (complex as far as these movie go, anyway). At one point, when he clearly wants to bring a loaded shotgun into a fight with him, he hesitates, and brings a less-deadly 2x4 instead. It's a neat moment.

So it's not going to be winning any awards any time soon. But I had a really good time, plain and simple, and the audience I saw it with did too.

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